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A major new book overturning our assumptions about how evolution works
Earth’s natural history is full of fascinating instances of convergence: phenomena like eyes and wings and tree-climbing lizards that have evolved independently, multiple times. But evolutionary biologists also point out many examples of contingency, cases where the tiniest change—a random mutation or an ancient butterfly sneeze—caused evolution to take a completely different course. What role does each force really play in the constantly changing natural world? Are the plants and animals that exist today, and we humans ourselves, inevitabilities or evolutionary flukes? And what does that say about life on other planets?
Jonathan Losos reveals what the latest breakthroughs in evolutionary biology can tell us about one of the greatest ongoing debates in science. He takes us around the globe to meet the researchers who are solving the deepest mysteries of life on Earth through their work in experimental evolutionary science. Losos himself is one of the leaders in this exciting new field, and he illustrates how experiments with guppies, fruit flies, bacteria, foxes, and field mice, along with his own work with anole lizards on Caribbean islands, are rewinding the tape of life to reveal just how rapid and predictable evolution can be. 
Improbable Destinies will change the way we think and talk about evolution. Losos's insights into natural selection and evolutionary change have far-reaching applications for protecting ecosystems, securing our food supply, and fighting off harmful viruses and bacteria. This compelling narrative offers a new understanding of ourselves and our role in the natural world and the cosmos.
Less than 450 years ago, all European scholars believed that the earth was the centre of a universe that was at most a few million miles in extent, and that the planets, sun, and stars all rotated around this centre. Less than 250 years ago, they believed that the universe was created essentially in its present state about 6000 years ago. Less than 150 years ago, the special creation by God of living species was still dominant. The relentless application of the scientific method of inference from experiment and observation, without reference to religious, or governmental authority has completely transformed our view of our origins and relation to the universe, in less than 500 years. Few would dispute that this programme has been spectacularly successful, particularly in the twentieth century. This book is about the crucial role of evolutionary biology in transforming our view of human origins and relation to the universe, and the impact of this idea on traditional philosophy and religion. The purpose of this book is to introduce the general reader to some of the most important basic findings, concepts, and procedures of evolutionary biology, as it has developed since the first publications of Darwin and Wallace on the subject, over 140 years ago. Evolution provides a unifying set of principals for the whole of biology; it also illuminates the relation of human beings to the universe and each other. In addition, many aspects of evolution have practical importance; for instance, the rapid evolution of resistance by bacteria to antibiotics and of HIV to antiviral drugs are pressing medical problems. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
The world’s most revered and eloquent interpreter of evolutionary ideas offers here a work of explanatory force unprecedented in our time—a landmark publication, both for its historical sweep and for its scientific vision. With characteristic attention to detail, Stephen Jay Gould first describes the content and discusses the history and origins of the three core commitments of classical Darwinism: that natural selection works on organisms, not genes or species; that it is almost exclusively the mechanism of adaptive evolutionary change; and that these changes are incremental, not drastic. Next, he examines the three critiques that currently challenge this classic Darwinian edifice: that selection operates on multiple levels, from the gene to the group; that evolution proceeds by a variety of mechanisms, not just natural selection; and that causes operating at broader scales, including catastrophes, have figured prominently in the course of evolution. Then, in a stunning tour de force that will likely stimulate discussion and debate for decades, Gould proposes his own system for integrating these classical commitments and contemporary critiques into a new structure of evolutionary thought. In 2001 the Library of Congress named Stephen Jay Gould one of America’s eighty-three Living Legends—people who embody the “quintessentially American ideal of individual creativity, conviction, dedication, and exuberance.” Each of these qualities finds full expression in this peerless work, the likes of which the scientific world has not seen—and may not see again—for well over a century.
Marine Invertebrate Evolution in the Galapagos Islands MATTHEW J. JAMES 1. Perspective of This Volume . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2. Directions for Future Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 3. Plan of This Volume . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 1. Perspective of This Volume Charles Darwin brought the Galapagos Islands to the attention of zoologists, botanists, and geologists following the six-week visit of H. M. S. Beagle to the islands in 1835. Since then published research on the biota of the islands, partic ularly in multiauthored volumes, has focused on terrestrial plants and animals. The present volume is designed specifically to provide a summary of work on the marine invertebrate fauna. One deviation from that objective was the inclusion of a chapter on land snails, which proved to be a good choice because the phylum Mollusca is now covered more thoroughly in this volume than in any single previous scholarly work on the Galapagos. The academic bottom line with this book is to elucidate the evolutionary responses of shallow water, benthic marine invertebrates to the unique set of insular conditions that exist in the Galapagos Islands. The route taken to that objective has many paths including taxonomic revision, determining biogeo graphic affinities, and examining the ecological requirements of species. The information presented here is for some groups from the islands the first stage in a thorough process that can eventually lead to an understanding of the phylogenetic relationships of these species.
It is my hope that this collection of reviews can be profitably read by all who are interested in evolutionary biology. However, I would like to specifically target it for two disparate groups of biologists seldom men tioned in the same sentence, classical ichthyologists and molecular biologists. Since classical times, and perhaps even before, ichthyologists have stood in awe at the tremendous diversity of fishes. The bulk of effort in the field has always been directed toward understanding this diversity, i. e. , extracting from it a coherent picture of evolutionary processes and lineages. This effort has, in turn, always been overwhelmingly based upon morphological comparisons. The practical advantages of such compari sons, especially the ease with which morphological data can be had from preserved museum specimens, are manifold. But considered objectively (outside its context of "tradition"), morphological analysis alone is a poor tool for probing evolutionary processes or elucidating relationships. The concepts of "relationship" and of "evolution" are inherently genetic ones, and the genetic bases of morphological traits are seldom known in detail and frequently unknown entirely. Earlier in this century, several workers, notably Gordon, Kosswig, Schmidt, and, in his salad years, Carl Hubbs, pioneered the application of genetic techniques and modes of reasoning to ichthyology. While certain that most contemporary ichth yologists are familiar with this body of work, I am almost equally certain that few of them regard it as pertinent to their own efforts.
John Tyler Bonner, a major participant in the development of biology as an experimental science, is the author not only of important monographs but also of a wonderfully readable book, Life Cycles, which is both a personal memoir and a profound commentary on the central themes of biology. This volume of essays presents new material that extends the concepts from Life Cycles and his other writings. Its originality lies in comparing key basic biological processes at different levels, from molecular interactions through multicellular development to behavior and social interactions. The first chapter in the book discusses self-organization and natural selection; the second, competition and natural selection; and the third, gene accumulation and gene silencing. The fourth chapter examines the division of labor in organisms at all levels: within the organelles of a cell, within groups of cells in the guise of differentiation, within groups of individuals in an animal society, and within our culturally determined human societies. The work closes with a charming personal history of sixty years of changes in the field of biology, including the transformation in the ways that research work is funded.

Originally published in 1996.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

In 1962 at the Burg Wartenstein Symposium on "Classification and Human Evolution," Emile Zuckerkandl used the term "molecular anthropology" to characterize the study of primate phylogeny and human evolution through the genetic information contained in proteins and polynucleotides. Since that time, our knowledge of molecular evolution in primates and other organisms has grown considerably. The present volume examines this knowledge especially as it relates to the phyletic position of Homo sapiens in the order Primates and to the trends which shaped the direction of human evolution. Participants from the disciplines of protein and nucleotide chemistry, genetics, statistics, paleon tology, and physical anthropology held cross-disciplinary discussions and argued some of the major issues of molecular anthropology and the data upon which these arguments rest. Chief among these were the molecular clock controversy in hominoid evolution; the molecular evidence on phylogenetic relationships among primates; the evolution of gene expression regulation in primates; the relationship of fossil and molecular data in the Anthropoidea and other pri mates; the interpretation of the adaptive significance of evolutionary changes; and, finally, the impact on mankind of studies in molecular anthropology. Most of the papers in this volume were presented in a preliminary form at Symposium No. 65 on "Progress in Molecular Anthropology" held at Burg Wartenstein, Austria, from July 25 to August 1, 1975. These papers were subsequently revised and some additional papers related to the theme of the symposium were also contributed to this volume.
The Fifth International Biomineralization Symposium was held in May 1986 at The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas. The chosen theme was the origin, evolution and modern aspects of biomineralization in plants and animals. Thus, the symposium was designed to bring together experts in ocean and atmospheric chemistry, geochemistry, paleontology, biology, medicine and related fields to share accumulated knowledge and to broaden research horizons. The contents of this volume reflect the diversified interests and views of contributors from these fields. Topics range from contrasting views of the origin of ocean chemistry, the cause or causes for the biomineralization among plants and animals, the evolution of style and structure of biomineralization, and the role of inorganic and organic compounds in biomineraliza tion. It was clear from those gathered in Arlington that the efforts of all researchers in any aspect of biomineralization can be strengthened and extended by greater exposure to the work of others in allied fields. At the time of this printing, several collaborative efforts have grown from interest and contacts developed during the symposium. Rex E. Crick viii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The symposium would not have occurred with the financial support of The Organized Research Fund of The University of Texas at Arlington and The Sea Grant Program administered by Texas A & M University. The staff of the Department of Geology of The University of Texas at Arlington were largely responsible for providing a pleasant atmosphere for learning.
The first meeting on biosonar that I had the opportunity to attend was held in 1978 on the Island of Jersey in the English Channel. That meeting, organized by Professor R.G. Busne1 and Dr. Jim Fish, was my introduction to an exciting and varied group of hard-working and dedicated scientists studying animal echolocation. They are, by nature, a very diverse group. They tend to publish in different journals and rarely interact despite the fact that they all work on echolocation. When they do interact as a group, as they did in Frascati Italy in 1966, in Jersey i~ 1978, and during the meeting reported in this volume, the meetings are intense, interesting, and exciting. This volume is a composition of a series of contributed papers written to foster an interdisciplinary understanding of the echolocation systems of animals. The echolocation pulse production studies in bats and dolphins have recently been concentrated on the ontogeny of infant pulses, other studies, with three-dimensional computer graphics and x-ray computed tomography, have concentrated on finally resolving the old controversy concerning the site of dolphin echolocation click production. Much has been accomplished on the analysis of bat neural structure and function. The intense effort directed toward understanding the structure, connections, and functional properties of parallel auditory pathways and the parallel and hierarchical processing of information by the mustached bat, has lead to dramatic breakthroughs in understanding brain function.
In 1837 a young Charles Darwin took his notebook, wrote "I think" and then sketched a rudimentary, stick-like tree. Each branch of Darwin's tree of life told a story of survival and adaptation – adaptation of animals and plants not just to the environment but also to life with other living things. However, more than 150 years since Darwin published his singular idea of natural selection, the science of ecology has yet to account for how contrasting evolutionary outcomes affect the ability of organisms to coexist in communities and to regulate ecosystem functioning.

In this book Philip Grime and Simon Pierce explain how evidence from across the world is revealing that, beneath the wealth of apparently limitless and bewildering variation in detailed structure and functioning, the essential biology of all organisms is subject to the same set of basic interacting constraints on life-history and physiology. The inescapable resulting predicament during the evolution of every species is that, according to habitat, each must adopt a predictable compromise with regard to how they use the resources at their disposal in order to survive. The compromise involves the investment of resources in either the effort to acquire more resources, the tolerance of factors that reduce metabolic performance, or reproduction. This three-way trade-off is the irreducible core of the universal adaptive strategy theory which Grime and Pierce use to investigate how two environmental filters selecting, respectively, for convergence and divergence in organism function determine the identity of organisms in communities, and ultimately how different evolutionary strategies affect the functioning of ecosystems. This book reflects an historic phase in which evolutionary processes are finally moving centre stage in the effort to unify ecological theory, and animal, plant and microbial ecology have begun to find a common theoretical framework.

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A reappraisal of Lamarckism—its historical impact and contemporary significance.

In 1809—the year of Charles Darwin's birth—Jean-Baptiste Lamarck published Philosophie zoologique, the first comprehensive and systematic theory of biological evolution. The Lamarckian approach emphasizes the generation of developmental variations; Darwinism stresses selection. Lamarck's ideas were eventually eclipsed by Darwinian concepts, especially after the emergence of the Modern Synthesis in the twentieth century. The different approaches—which can be seen as complementary rather than mutually exclusive—have important implications for the kinds of questions biologists ask and for the type of research they conduct. Lamarckism has been evolving—or, in Lamarckian terminology, transforming—since Philosophie zoologique's description of biological processes mediated by "subtle fluids." Essays in this book focus on new developments in biology that make Lamarck's ideas relevant not only to modern empirical and theoretical research but also to problems in the philosophy of biology. Contributors discuss the historical transformations of Lamarckism from the 1820s to the 1940s, and the different understandings of Lamarck and Lamarckism; the Modern Synthesis and its emphasis on Mendelian genetics; theoretical and experimental research on such "Lamarckian" topics as plasticity, soft (epigenetic) inheritance, and individuality; and the importance of a developmental approach to evolution in the philosophy of biology. The book shows the advantages of a "Lamarckian" perspective on evolution. Indeed, the development-oriented approach it presents is becoming central to current evolutionary studies—as can be seen in the burgeoning field of Evo-Devo. Transformations of Lamarckism makes a unique contribution to this research.

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